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Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 11/03/2014 - 14:31
by Razmo
They are currently played by key... I'm thinking about getting a drum-pad thing to use with my modules though, to get more organic feel and dynamics from the playing, but I in no way intend to sound accoustic... my music is electronic, and thus it's alright for it to sound electronic, but even electronic percussion can sound sterile and machine-like if you don't apply some playing dynamics... sometimes I want tight electronic and monotone feel, at other times I try to go for a kind of hybrid feel where the electronic percussion surely sounds electronic, but are played with dynamics to give it a more human (or alien?) feel.

This is probably because the music I do is largely experimental... I don't want it to sound like something from real life, so no... my modules will not sound like a live played drumset at all... and I don't intend it to either as I'm an experimental electronic musician... the more unearthly it sounds, the better.

This is the pads I intend on getting at some point (and the module too actualy):


Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 11/03/2014 - 19:27
by Commie_User
Well if you're going to buy pads then buy the good ones. But I still recommend dipping your toe in the water by trying some cheap MIDI pads first. ... 2a38cde1f5

They're nice for wider percussion, which could be a compliment to the main lines in your music. And on Ebay they're often far cheaper than this set.

By the way, how does my drum line sound through your box? Would you mind letting me listen?

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 31/03/2014 - 6:18
by Razmo
I'm getting closer to finishing my studio synth setup. I decided recently to stop the hoarding, and sell my less used synths, in favor of newer and more capable synths (and less quirky).

It's quite a bit of a selection process, and REALLY hard for me to part with my older synths, but it's getting out of hand, and I need to be making music, not hoarding synths.

Currently there is only space for one more stereo synth in the future, and I don't know yet what it will be... future will have to tell that, I'm not buying more old quirky synths for that spot, that's for sure.

I ordered this one today, which I'm definitely looking forward to play with. The unique thing about the Prophet '12 is that it's a hybrid synth... digital oscillators, but the rest of the signal path is totaly analog... 12 voices polyphonic... but the most notable is it's modulation matrix... you can practicaly route any modulation source inkluding oscillators and noise, to all parameters in the machine at audio rate... that makes the modulation almost like a real modular system, and is really powerful.


I also bought a used mobile recorder, that I will be using for field recording, as I want to begin making my own samples for use with electronic music experimentation projects. A simple Sony PCM M-10 mobile recorder... it's realy practical, has a really good and flat response, build in good microphones, 4GB of build in recording memory and lasts up to 43 hours on a single set of AA batteries.

I've begun attending flea markets to find odd stuff that makes sounds and noises too that I'll be recording with this. Recently found a few things you can see below as well as the recorder:

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I really hope to get started on some C64 remixes again soon... nothing planned yet, but it's on my mind often, so I hope to use all of this gear for it :)

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 10/04/2014 - 20:28
by Razmo
Just finished my editor for my Prophet '12 module... and I've done some testing on bass-programs... some people think the P'12 sounds thin and is not good for bass synths... I have to disagree... it's not a MOOG for sure, but I feel it can do basses.

Here's a few examples of my first program:
It's good enough bass for me...

...still exploring this incredible synth...

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 02/05/2014 - 13:14
by Razmo
I've been messing around with my Prophet '12 some more lately, trying to see what sounds I can come up with.

Some people think it's digital sounding... it certainly can sound that way, but I don't think that's all it can do.

The synth is EXTREMELY flexible and unique in my opinion, and I like it more and more everytime I have made another Program on it. One of it's really huge potentials is that it has audio rate modulation off basicaly ALL parameters... EVERY PARAMETER! ... but also it has 4 delay lines per voice... this is HUGE to say the least. Using the four delay lines as choruses, you can make a voice that sounds like 20 oscillators running at the same time, and still have 12 voice polyphony!

The Wavetable synthesis can get you a long way sounding like a Waldorf Microwave too...

Here are som audio demo's of the four Programs I did thus far:

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 02/05/2014 - 17:57
by Commie_User
Some quality classic sounds there. I'd swear this was my JD-800! The sounds are so similar, if not the same. I really must play with it again.


There's even a sample pack. Do you fancy a go on it to find how well they compare?

I'll have it, especially as I still have only the basic presets to play with: ...

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 30/05/2014 - 10:28
by Razmo
Sorry for the delay Commie User.... have had my mind somewhere else for a while.

The JD-800 is a mighty machine... really one of the best for ambient pads and stuff like that... I had the rack version once (JD-990) with the "Vintage" expansion... sort of miss it really... like I do with so many other synths I've sold :roll:

I've been messing around with my new Prophet '12 synthesizer... what a machine really... lovely hybrid design, but I'm not going to buy something that expensive again soon, that's for sure... Buying both this and a Prophet '08 at the same time was quite an undertaking... I had to buy them new, because not many are sold used... I usualy prefer buying used gear instead.

That reminds me that I've just found two machines more, that should more or less complete my studio (I still try to believe that :roll: ).

The first one is a synth from 86-87 that I've always wanted... a Kawai K3m. The synthesis is not that revolutionary, and is basicaly just 8bit single cycle waveforms, but you can make your own as well... I've got other synths that can do this (Evolver for example), so that's not the main reason though... the reason is it's got SSM 2044 analog filters (6 voices) and VCAs... it's the same filters as in the KORG Polysix, and I don't have any synths with this filter character, so I'm very pleased I finaly managed to get one of these, as they are rarely for sale.

But another aspect of this synth is, that is actualy have an analog chorus bult in as well... a nice addition for sure.


The second one was actualy one that I got from the same seller of the K3m... I was surprised that I've never seen this synth in my past search for everything FM... I thought I had seen them all, but this one obviously eluded me; the Orla DSE-12.

Originaly made as a rack module for accompagnement to organs (probably why it eluded me :lol: ) ... an 80's machine once again, it sports a 4 operator FM synthesis structure, and actualy uses some of Yamaha's early FM chips... the YM2203, a chip... and if not THE most used sound chip in many arcade machines... very warm FM sound.

But there are many other good FM synths out there, so why this one? ... because it has something I've been looking for, for quite some time; a built in Ensemble Effect! ... just like on good old stringer synths. This is really a unique combinatin, to mix an ensemble effect with a FM tone generator... but it's exactly what I've always been wanting to try out.

The typical stringer sound is done by a divide down curcuit, playing just simple sawtooths into the effect.. that's what create the typical stringer sound, but I've always thought that the FM synthesis technique would lend itself nicely with an Ensamble effect because it can produce many more timbral variations than just sawtooth, without using more oscillators and filters... that's why it's well suited for a string Ensemble effect, and exactly what I will get from this unit... and that the Ensemble effect is analog makes it even better :)

The synth was originaly made as a DIY kit from Böhm in Germany, but Orla obviously relaunched it at some time. It's available also in a 9 and 24 voice version (mine is a 12 voice).... The DSE-9 and DSE-24.


And lastly... a little demo of something I'm working on:
Not sure what genre to call it... something reggae'ish synthy stuff... not finished... still need a lot of work, but it has a lot of DSI synths in it... Poly Evolver, Prophet 08, Prophet 12 etc...

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 30/05/2014 - 19:11
by Commie_User
Don't worry about the delay, it's nice to have you back.

That's a good piece you're building there. It certainly sounds cross-decade, opening with a solid sound which is evocative of the 70s prog bands, then moving into the more 80s-sounding main part.

In my mind, perhaps a bass and guitar melody bouncing with the tune will help it. And you wouldn't believe the realism of even the free Kontakt guitar packs now (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10469).

Reading all this, I see you do know how to match your synths. All the pieces of the jigsaw slot together and I can hear that in the demos. That's a very good reason to finish off your collection, especially as it seems you are nearly there.

And I've been watching Electric Dreams again, where a family was filmed re-living a few days of the 1970s and 80s. With all you've got, I've been thinking there should be a studio version of the format; filming musicians and studio technicians making a new album using only technology from 30 years ago.

It shouldn't be too difficult actually. Though with the pace of change these last decades, it's amazing even the 80s are a history lesson now.

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 15/06/2014 - 13:57
by Razmo
Finaly got the Kawai K3m and ORLA DSE-12 home for a closer inspection.

They both sound very good, but the Kawai K3m has too many MIDI SysEx issues, so it'll leave very soon... a shame really, as those SSM2044 filters sound darn nice! :?

But I'm extremely blown away by the ORLA DSE-12 ... this is a certain keeper for sure. I've always liked analog Ensemble effects, and the one in this device is nearly as good as the one in my Eminent 310 Unique organ. In fact I'm certain now, that this module will replace my Eminent simply because it has MIDI, and SysEx so that I can make an editor for it. It's much easier to incorporate this module in my setup because of this... and it takes up a whole lot less space! :)

The idear of mixing an analog ensemble with FM synthesis has been on my mind for a long time, but I never thought I'd see such a thing, nor did I know it already existed... the reason why I wanted this mix is, that normaly, an ensemble is fed simply sawtooth waveforms to produce it's stringer sound... it's very important that the waveform is clean, and not any multi-sawtooth detuned waveforms, as this detuning will ruin the ensemble efect.

Thus, what is needed is some synthesis that can create as many varied tones, in the single cycle waveforms themselves. Normal subtractive synthesis does not give anything but saw, square and triangle basicaly, but FM on the other hand can make loads of different single-tones with many different harmonics... that's why it's good with an Ensemble effect in my opinion... lots of more options in tonality. Wavetable synthesis would also make for a good combination with an ensemble effect.

But it's not just the Ensemble I like about this synth... the FM tone in general is probably the warmest I've heard thus far in an FM synth (I've heard quite a lot of them first hand!). It makes perfect "rubbery" FM basses for sure, and a unique "detune" function in this synth doubles a sound, and detunes them for ultimate fatness... this is rarely a feature in other FM synths... only on Yamaha DX7II keyboard and KORG DS-8 have I seen a unison feature.

The MIDI specs of it is really nice when you think about it... this synth was normaly a DIY synth from Böhm, and launched around 1986, but it has both request and dump functions for programs, allowing me to create an editor for it. It has 12 voices (there is an upgraded version called the DSE-24 with 24 voices also).

But I did have some problems with it when I got it... in fact it did not start at all... transportation had obviously knocked one end of the internal battery loose, so that had to be resoldered, and a previous owner had obviously changed the battery after a leak, so at chip socket near the battery has been partly damaged by corrosive batteryfluid, and some resistors too, so these had to be cleaned up, but are now working fine... I might change the IC socket some day, as it's seen better days. Also, the previous owner had messed up the inside pots of the Ensemble... after recallibrating them to factory standard, the Ensemble sounded waaaay better than before.

Here are a few picks of my device (First one shows the Ensemble curcuit):
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And lastly... here is a demo recorded from the unit, showcasing mostly the ensemble sound, but there are some other sounds in there as well (at the end):
Next step will be to hook it up to my Electro Harmonix Smallstone phaser 8)

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 16/06/2014 - 15:10
by Commie_User
That sounds REALLY good. I can see how you're so enthusiastic.

And talking of Ensembles, I hope that organ's coming along. I'd be interested to hear you demo these together next time, if only just mashing your hands on the keyboard. The sounds should play off each other very well.

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 31/07/2014 - 9:02
by Razmo
Alright... I've been selling quite a few machines lately to change the studio layout... I decided to rid myself of all 100% digital synthesizers, exept for my sampler... I find that machines with too many options does not inspire me to create new sounds on them... I like limitations, so therefore I've kept my analog and hybrid synths instead.

I think I'm now pretty close to the final layout of my studio. Only one more stereo synth is mising, which will probably be the Dave Smith Instruments new Pro 2 Keyboard.

I just ordered this today:

I've searched high and low for a drummachine that suits my needs... for years... I think this is the one, as it is quite deep in it's editing specs, and can be used even as an analog synth or for FX.

Some would probably say, why not just use a sampler for FX and drums, but I like the organic and expressive sound of drum synthesis, plus, I'm getting really tired of machines that need samples to work, mainly because it takes me forever to decide what samples go in and what not, and it's usualy accompanied by a tedious process to get the samples from a computer to the sampler too.

Thus, my future compositions will not be using samples at all... just instrumental music... that is my goal.

I do have a sampler though (as mentioned above)... but it's mostly because I'm uncertain if I'll redecide or miss out on some things... mainly speech frases, or atmospheric pads/SFX, so I'm keeping my sampler in the setup just in case... besides I just bought the sampler I allready had once more, just in a model that is a bit higher... The E-MU E6400 Ultra sampler with 128 voice expansion installed.

So I believe, that by the end of August, I'll start on doing a C64 remix... it's time to make music, not aquire more synths...

My final studio will be:

ORLA - DSE-12 (FM polysynth with analog ensemble effect)
Waldorf - Microwave 1 (hybrid wavetable polysynth with analog filters)
Waldorf - Pulse 1 (analog monosynth)
Waldorf - Pulse 2 (analog monosynth)
DSI - Poly Evolver Rack (hybrid polysynth)
DSI - Prophet '08 module (analog polysynth)
DSI - Prophet 12 module (hybrid polysynth)
DSI - Pro 2 Keyboard (hybrid polysynth)
DSI - Tempest (analog/hybrid drummachine/FX/Polysynth)
E-MU - E6400 Ultra (digital sampler)

Everything else that I've been ranting about has been sold, exept for the Yamaha EX5 that I still use as master keyboard controller... but it'll go as soon as I find the funds for the DSI Pro 2 Keyboard.

I'm really happy I've reached "the end of GAS road"... so tired of spending horrendous sums on gear, and not making any music with it.

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 31/07/2014 - 21:13
by Commie_User
I look forward to another track. You must have overhauled the whole synth section.

So if you are underway, can I suggest you cover this: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=10520

I'm quite stuck on that music right now. Game and cracktro.

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 02/08/2014 - 7:18
by Razmo
Oh yes... the studio has been overhauled big time.

I cannot figure out what tune your link is refering to by the way...

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 02/08/2014 - 15:53
by Commie_User
Well I'm after the two cracktro tunes on this disk image:

Such powerful music. All that filter action!

Re: Razmo's Gear rambling thread

Posted: 11/09/2014 - 21:23
by Razmo
Long time no see... :)

I'm still refining my synth selection... things go, and things come... always movement in the studio... but I hope to find a static setup still... it just always seem to take longer than anticipated (GAS is troublesome :? ).

I actualy got tired of having my Eminent 310 unique standing around... takes too much space, too much maintennance, and has no MIDI... and after I found that ORLA synth with ensemble build in, I don't really need it, so I'm selling it as defect this saturday where it'll be picked up... I'm really glad to get rid of this.

I also decided to get rid of my Mackie ONYX 24.4 console mixer... hate the fan noise in it, and it takes up too much space, so I got this instead:


It's a bit more compact... just 5 units high, and has more inputs than the 24.4... it's 16 stereo inputs, and it's the only one of it's kind really... it's perfect for synth enthusiasts like me because everything is stereo and line level.

Unfortunately the seller forgot to tell me, that the control room fader was defect, and that two LED's in the Meter had died... so I had to solder that fader off, open it up, and bend the wipers back in place, but it's working nicely now... the LED's still don't work, but I'll fix that someday... not that important.

I sent the DSI Tempest back for a refund... too many bugs in the OS, and DSI has shitty maintennance policies, so I did not take the chance and sent it back to get my money back.

Today I'm a little short on synths actualy (compared to what I'm used to)... currently the studio has:

Waldorf Microwave 1
Waldorf Pulse 1
Waldorf Pulse 2
DSI Poly Evolver
DSI Prophet '08
DSI Prophet 12
E-MU E6400

The ORLA DSE-12 is not connected at the moment... has a defect, and I cannot find it to repair it... so I'm actualy trying to find another specimen of it to take it's place, which is hard as it's pretty rare...

By the end of this month I'm planning on getting this:


and here is a short riff of something I did when testing a few things today:
Was trying to make a kick drum on the DSI Prophet 12... think I did allright.